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Best Spy Books

Dive into the world of espionage with these top-rated spy books. Each title has masterfully eluded the shadows to be featured prominently in multiple best-of lists and critical roundups.

Recommendations from 50 articles, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Shah Rukh Khan and 45 others.
Best Spy Books
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The Spy Who Came in from the Cold book cover
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
John le Carré - 2001-11-27 (first published in 1963)
Goodreads Rating
Uncover the secret world of international espionage in this thrilling classic novel. Written by a former British Intelligence agent, the story follows a spy who's desperate to end his career but is given one last mission. Tensions rise as he's sent into dangerous territory, forced to play the part of a dishonored spy in order to bring down his enemies. Full of twists and turns, this suspenseful tale is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy book cover
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
A George Smiley Novel
John le Carré - 2011-06-07 (first published in 1974)
Goodreads Rating
A retired British Intelligence officer, George Smiley, sets out to catch a Soviet mole who has penetrated the highest level of British Intelligence. The only clues he has are his wits and a small, loyal team. This bestselling book, now an Oscar-nominated feature film, comes from the New York Times bestselling author of A Legacy of Spies, John le Carré. Don't miss his new novel, Agent Running in the Field, coming October 2019.
The Secret Agent book cover
The Secret Agent
Joseph Conrad - 2004-04-29 (first published in 1907)
Goodreads Rating
In a shop in Soho lives Mr. Verloc, a secret agent, with his wife, her infirm mother, and her brother. Reluctantly involved in an anarchist plot to blow up the Greenwich Observatory, things go awry, unraveling a complex web involving politicians, policemen, diplomats, and London's elite society. This new edition includes a comprehensive chronology and a critical introduction that delves into Conrad's descriptions of London as a "monstrous town" plagued by madness, crime, and butchery, while also exploring contemporary anarchist activity and imperialism.
The Day of the Jackal book cover
The Day of the Jackal
Frederick Forsyth - 1979-09-01 (first published in 1971)
Goodreads Rating
A lethal assassin with a contract to kill the world's most well-guarded man, known only as "the Jackal." As the clock ticks down to the final moments of his deadly mission, one man with a rifle may hold the power to change the course of history. A gripping tale of secrecy, danger, and high stakes.
Recommended by
Ben Shapiro
Our Man in Havana book cover
Our Man in Havana
Graham Greene - 1991-09-03 (first published in 1958)
Goodreads Rating
A struggling vacuum cleaner salesman in a city with frequent powercuts is offered the chance to earn extra income by spying. But as he creates fake reports, he soon realizes that his lies are coming true, causing his web of deceit to become increasingly complicated.
Casino Royale book cover
Casino Royale
Ian Fleming - 2002-08-27 (first published in 1953)
Goodreads Rating
A sophisticated and charming secret agent, licensed to kill, takes on a mission to neutralize a high-rolling Russian operative by ruining him at the Baccarat table. But when Bond's attraction to a female agent leads him to disaster, an unexpected savior enters the game. The first of a thrilling series, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat.
From Russia with Love book cover
From Russia with Love
Ian Fleming - 2002-01-01 (first published in 1957)
Goodreads Rating
Enter the world of Cold War espionage as Special Agent James Bond is tasked with bringing a critical decoding machine from Istanbul to London, and facing elimination by the Russian intelligence unit, SMERSH. A deadly game of bluff and double bluff ensues as Bond navigates the murky waters of the Balkans in a bid to gain the upper hand for the British Secret Service.
The Thirty-Nine Steps book cover
The Thirty-Nine Steps
Premium Edition - Illustrated
John Buchan - 2004-06-17 (first published in 1915)
Goodreads Rating
Get ready for a thrilling adventure with this classic novel about an assassination plot that could change the course of European politics. After being warned by a mysterious American, Richard Hannay harbours the man, only to find him murdered. As a suspect, Hannay flees to his native Scotland, pursued by both the police and a cunning enemy. Can he solve the perplexing mystery of the "thirty-nine steps" before it's too late? First published in 1915, this gripping novel will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
American Spy book cover
American Spy
A Novel
Lauren Wilkinson - 2019-02-12
Goodreads Rating
This enthralling espionage drama takes place in 1986 during the heart of the Cold War, following a young black woman working as an intelligence officer with the FBI. Marie Mitchell struggles to choose between her honor and the man she loves when given the opportunity to undermine Thomas Sankara, the revolutionary president of Burkina Faso. Inspired by true events, this novel combines a gripping spy thriller with a heartbreaking family drama and a passionate romance. Get ready to see a new side of the Cold War and discover a powerful new literary voice.
Recommended by
Barack Obama
The Alice Network book cover
The Alice Network
A Novel
Kate Quinn - 2017-06-06
Goodreads Rating
Embark on a gripping journey through two world wars as two women, a spy and a socialite, come together years later to uncover secrets of the past. The story delves into themes of courage, redemption, and the brutal realities of war. Will they find the truth in their quest for closure?
The Quiet American by Graham Greene
The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
The Spy and the Traitor by Ben MacIntyre
Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
Berlin Game by Len Deighton
Slow Horses by Mick Herron
Ashenden by W. Somerset Maugham
Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews
Kim by Rudyard Kipling
The Innocent by Ian McEwan
Transcription by Kate Atkinson
A Coffin for Dimitrios by Eric Ambler
The Berlin Exchange by Joseph Kanon
Secret Service by Tom Bradby
Mission to Paris by Alan Furst
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers
Damascus Station by David McCloskey
The Billion Dollar Spy by David E. Hoffman
The Moscow Rules by Antonio Mendez
The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva
The Main Enemy by Milton Bearden, James Risen
Three Hours in Paris by Cara Black
Need to Know by Karen Cleveland
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
City Spies by James Ponti
Killing Eve by Luke Jennings
Spy School by Stuart Gibbs
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Mrs. Smith's Spy School for Girls by Beth McMullen
I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
The Company by Robert Littell
Winter Work by Dan Fesperman
Kennedy 35 by Charles Cumming
Life Undercover by Amaryllis Fox
Above Suspicion by Helen MacInnes
A Spy Among Friends by Ben MacIntyre
Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry
At Risk by Rimington, Stella by Stella Rimington
Night Heron by Adam Brookes
The Travelers by Chris Pavone
The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
Rise and Kill First by Ronen Bergman
An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris
The Quiet Americans by Scott Anderson
The Other Side of Silence by Philip Kerr
The Outsider by Frederick Forsyth
Ultimatum by Frank Gardner
Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
The Triple Agent by Joby Warrick
Diary of a Dead Man on Leave by David Downing
Strangers on a Bridge by James Donovan
Olivia the Spy by Ian Falconer
Bletchley Park by Sinclair McKay, Bletchley Park
Victor in the Rubble by Alex Finley
The Ipcress File by Len Deighton
Hue and Cry by Patricia Wentworth
Restless by William Boyd
Agent Running in the Field by John le Carré
A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming
Night Manager by John le Carre
The Accomplice by Joseph Kanon
A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell
Northern Spy by Flynn Berry
Midnight in Europe by Alan Furst
Mac Undercover by Mac Barnett
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
All the Shah's Men by Stephen Kinzer
Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz
Smiley's People by John le Carré
The Devil's Chessboard by David Talbot
American Assassin by Vince Flynn
JUDAS 62 by Charles Cumming
BOX 88 by Charles Cumming
Agents of Innocence by David Ignatius
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
Jada Sly, Artist & Spy by Sherri Winston
Big Bear, Little Bear by David Brierley
Cyberspies by Gordon Corera
Yesterday's Spy by Tom Bradby
The Burning Gates by Parker Bilal
Night Soldiers by Alan Furst
The Unexpected Spy by Tracy Walder, Jessica Anya Blau
Stalin's Englishman by Andrew Lownie
Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz
Cyber War by Richard A. Clarke
Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac
Spycraft by Robert Wallace
All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson